DANVILLE, Va. -- The East Division sixth-seed Meredith College Angels put together a strong 40 minutes versus the East's third-seed Averett Cougars Wednesday night but were unable to regain the lead down the stretch. AU will advance to the USA South Tournament quarterfinals with a 68-56 win over MCBB.
The Avenging Angels opened the game with a three point lead after Madison Gladwell forced a Cougar turnover and finished with a three-pointer off a pass from Daia Dawkins. MCBB remained one step ahead of Averett throughout the quarter and carried a four point advantage into the second stanza after a last second jumper from Mikayla Thompson.
Meredith struggled to score in the second period with just seven points on the scoreboard, as AU edged in front by four at the intermission.
After the break the Cougars extended their lead to 14 before Kate Perko interrupted the run with a free throw with 4:15 left in the quarter. Kimberly Schuh picked up a steal and finished the play with a three-point play from inside the paint. Schuh forced another turnover on the next defensive effort as the Angels continued to chip away at the deficit. Zaina Hook dished off to Lindsay Bell at thw two-minute mark for a three-pointer to narrow the gap to just four points, and MCBB kept Averett to within five heading into the final 10 minutes of regulation.
Down by nine three-minutes into the frame, Hook found Perko inside for two, and Perko finished the three-point play. A defensive rebound on the opposite end followed with another layup from Schuh, as Meredith trailed once again by four. AU missed an opportunity after forcing an Angel turnover, and Hook found the basket to pull her team to within two with just under six to play.
The Cougars ended a 1:19 scoring drought from both teams with a three-point play at 4:24, and another bobbled effort returned the ball back to Averett for another possession. But Bell forced a Cougar turnover, and Schuh put back an offensive rebound to keep Meredith in the mix at 56-53 with 3:08 left on the clock. Schuh drained the bonus, and MCBB trailed by just two.
Averett scored a quick pair at the free throw line to quash Meredith's momentum, and a series of missed opportunities found the Angels scrambling to catch up. Seven unanswered points spread the gap back to nine with seconds left on the clock. The Avenging Angels were forced to foul, but AU continued to score. Hook found Schuh for a bucket as time expired.
Schuh led the game with 23 points and 14 rebounds, and Perko finished with 15 points, 12 boards. Hook dished out five assists with five rebounds, and Gladwell scored six. Bell finished with eight points, two rebounds, and a pair of steals, and Dawkins finished with two assists, one rebound.
AU's Courtney Scott and Ravyn Johnson posted 15 points apiece, and Johnson added 13 rebounds.
The Meredith Angels bid farewell to senior Madison Gladwell but retain a strong foundation for Head Coach LaQuanda Quick to develop.